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AMI Foundation Provides Recommendations For 2013 AFRI Program; Calls For Continued Food Safety Support and Focus on Real-Time Testing Technologies

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

(American Meat Institute)

The AMI Foundation (AMIF) today provided feedback on the National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) program during a stakeholders meeting. AMIF encouraged continuous support and long-term funding of food safety research, especially as the meat and poultry industry faces significant food safety challenges. 

AMIF Director of Scientific Affairs Betsy Booren, Ph.D., noted in her comments that there is an immediate and critical need to develop real-time or near real-time microbial sampling and testing technologies. 

“The meat and poultry industry uses preventive food safety process management system that rely on the monitoring of parameters to ensure the system is in control,” said Booren.  “One tool commonly utilized is microbial testing.  The results help companies make real-time decision about the products they are producing. “

In addition, Booren said greater understanding of human salmonellosis is needed and suggested AFRI develop a program that examines the human acquisition factors of Salmonella and examine the causative species that cause illness, whether causative species are commodity specific, how to better attribute Salmonella to specific food illnesses, address what is the role of competitive exclusion in preventing illness, among others.

“AMIF strongly encourages NIFA and the AFRI program to reexamine foodborne illnesses, outbreaks, prevalence, and other public health data used to determine funding priority areas that will reduce the public health risk of consuming certain foods and that will attribute the illnesses more rapidly,” Booren said. “The AFRI program should target these areas, the areas of greatest societal impact, for the development of future RFAs.  For instance, the foodborne illnesses associated with Salmonella have remained virtually unchanged despite decreases of prevalence in meat and poultry products.  Research should be focused to improve the health of Americans.”

The Foundation also made a number of research recommendations regarding controlling Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) in fresh beef products, controlling Listeria monocytogenes on ready-to-eat meat and poultry products and controlling Salmonella.

To view the specific research recommendations and AMIF’s comments in their entirety, click here: http://www.meatinstitute.org/ht/a/GetDocumentAction/i/75846.

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